Dear GC Student,
Thank you for your interest in the inaugural Teach@CUNY Summer Institute, hosted by the Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center from August 7-17th. This email contains an introduction to the Institute, as well as important documents that will prepare you to get the most out of our time together over the following two weeks. Please read the email and the attached documents closely.
About the Institute
The goal of this Institute is to support Graduate Center students who are early in their college teaching careers. GC students teach more than seven thousand courses and nearly two hundred thousand undergraduate students across the CUNY system each academic year. It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that the teaching GC students do is absolutely central to the intellectual life of this vast university.
Some participants in this Institute are preparing for their first semester as college teachers while others have taught previously on a CUNY campus or at other institutions. Participants will be teaching courses in Anthropology, Biochemistry, Clinical Psychology, Chemistry, Classics, Comparative Literature, Criminal Justice, Critical Social and Personality Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Developmental Science, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Economics, Educational Psychology, English, Environmental Psychology, Ethnomusicology, French, Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theatre, and Urban Education. We also have participants from the Graduate Center’s masters programs, who aren’t teaching as part of a fellowship package, but who have an interest in classroom practices.
This list exemplifies the disciplinary diversity of the Graduate Center, and should also help explain how and why we’ve designed the Institute the way we have. The goal of the next two weeks is to provide a foundation for as many GC students as possible by introducing them to the kinds of questions that can promote thoughtful, responsive, and effective teaching within CUNY. Some attendees will participate in person, some will participate remotely; some will participate daily, others may check in periodically. Some have teaching experience and are looking to refine their practices; others are preparing for their first courses and have some idea of what they want to do; and still others are coming only beginning to think about the course they may start teaching less than a month from now. The Institute aims to help all of these GC students get the most out of their teaching.
During the next two weeks, you will develop deeper knowledge of CUNY’s history, a firmer sense of who the students are that you’ll be teaching, and a stronger understanding of how your course fits into the overall curriculum on your teaching campus. You will have the opportunity to talk about conceiving your course and designing assignments and assessments; you will also have the chance to consider how you are positioned as college instructors. You’ll share thoughts about your courses and syllabi as you prepare them, and connect with GC colleagues across disciplines to form a community of educators. On the last day of the Institute, all participants will have the opportunity share the story of their course, and identify what work still needs to be done before the semester begins.
We appreciate the busy summers that Graduate Center students have, and understand that many will not be able to participate in the entirety of the Institute. In order to reach as many students as possible, we will be complementing our five face-to-face meetings with online video and chat activities using Google Live Streaming, Google Hangouts, Slack, and the TLC site on the CUNY Academic Commons (http://cuny.is/teaching). We’ve attempted to make it relatively easy for participants to join when they can, but to do so you should follow along with our Institute schedule (described in an attached document) and make sure you understand where we are in the sequence of conversations that we’ve structured.
GC students who are active throughout the institute will be given a certificate from the Graduate Center’s Provost’s Office noting that they have completed the Teach@CUNY Summer Institute.
We’ve compiled the attached documents which include a detailed schedule for the Institute, a guide to digital participation, and a reading to completed before we meet on Monday. Please read the schedule and digital participation guide closely. If you are unable to complete the assignments before the Institute begins, do not fret; please plan to attend, as you will still get much out of the experience.
From this point forward all online communication should happen in the Teach@CUNY Summer Institute’s Slack Team (https://tcuny.slack.com), to which you will be receiving an invitation to join shortly.
If you have not yet completed the pre-Institute registration form at http://cuny.is/tcuny-survey, please do so as soon as possible.
If you have a laptop, please plan on bringing it with you to the Institute.
We look forward to seeing you in person or digitally on Monday, August 7!